updated 12:10 pm EDT, Wed May 13, 2009
Cisco WiMAX for Clearwire
Cisco on Wednesday said it had struck a deal with 4G Internet provider Clearwire to provide WiMAX devices for Clearwire's network. The agreement, which also sees Cisco provide some of the routers and other backing equipment for the network itself, will see Cisco give Clearwire WiMAX adapters meant both for individual users as well as home office and smaller businesses. Details of these aren't public, though the first hardware should be available by late this year.
The deal gives WiMAX a significant leap in the US and for Clearwire in particular. Clearwire plans to have a national network with some help from Sprint but has had relatively few suppliers to help its business, particularly for subscribers. Sprint has multiple PC cards and modems from Huawei, Samsung and others, but Clearwire has almost exclusively used Motorola devices.
Both of the carriers are in a rush to expand their networks ahead of when Verizon and others begin launching their own 4G service using the competing Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard from early 2010 onwards. While WiMAX has been available sooner, LTE is roughly 10 times faster and is poised to become a wider standard shared across most North American and European carriers.